Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn

Title: The Hollow Tree
Author: Janet Lunn
Publication Date: 1997
Length: 260 pages

The Hollow Tree tells the story of Phoebe Olcott, a young girl who becomes caught up in the American Revolutionary War, with people she loves fighting and dying on both sides. Though Phoebe does not feel that she is on either side, she decides to carry out her dead cousin's mission by delivering a message to the Loyalists. To do this, she must go on a dangerous journey across the Appalachian Mountains on foot.

I must admit, at the beginning I was bored. For the first couple of chapters I wasn't really sure where the story was going. But after a while, I really started to care about Phoebe. I could definitely relate to her point of view about the war. She's so far removed from it that it just seems like pointless death to her, so she feels no loyalty to either side. All that's important to her is helping those she cares about.

I love the various characters that come into Phoebe's life as she travels. I especially like Bartlett, the orphaned bear cub who starts to follow Phoebe on her journey, and curls up next to her to sleep. And I love the kids that Phoebe cares for in the Loyalist camp, especially the rambunctious Tibby Thayer.

One thing to consider if you're planning on reading this book to kids is that there is the occasional racial slur. I understand that they're included for historical accuracy and whatnot, but I'm not sure at what age a kid can read that the right way. So if you're reading this to a young child, make sure you explain why those words are not ok to use.

Overall, it's a really nice story, a bit slow moving at times, but it definitely made me care about the characters.

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